First Warning Forecast: Florence Moving Closer

Posted at 2:51 PM, Sep 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-12 20:25:33-04

Meteorologist Madeline Evans' First Warning Forecast

*** A Hurricane Warning from Duck, North Carolina south into South Carolina, including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

***Tropical Storm Warning from Duck, North Carolina to the North Carolina-Virginia border.

***Tropical Storm Watch from North Carolina-Virginia border to Cape Charles and Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort.

***Storm Surge Warning from Duck, North Carolina south into South Carolina including Albemale and Pamlico Sounds.

***Storm Surge Watch from Duck, North Carolina to the North Carolina-Virginia border.

Good day to finish up any final preps for Hurricane Florence with dry conditions, sunny, and temperatures in the upper 80s and lower 90s. Florence is still a very powerful Category 4 hurricane. Sustained winds are at 125 mph with gusts up to 160 mph. It is about 435 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina.

As the day progresses we'll see partly cloudy skies with a slight chance for a shower or storm.

As Hurricane Florence continues to move toward the northwest at 15 mph, we will see an increase in wind speed and rain chances starting Thursday morning. Florence will slow down by late Thursday into Friday. On the current track, the hurricane will move over the southwestern Atlantic between Bermuda and the Bahamas and then approach the coast of the Carolinas on Thursday and Friday. Even though the track has shifted a bit to the south, which could bring us a little less rain,  we will still have the possibility for major impacts.

This storm is almost bigger than North Carolina and Virginia put together so we will still feel the impacts. It will also slam on the brakes and stall near the coast of the Carolinas. This will continue to bring large amounts of rain for days. Life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and river flooding is likely. We will also see life-threatening surf and rip currents. Isolated tornadoes are also on the high end since we will be on the worst side of the storm. We continue to let everyone know to not take this lightly. If you have any preparations to make, make sure you get them done today. We will see conditions deteriorating as the day progresses on Thursday. Friday will be the worst of it for us with wind, rain and flooding. Rain and wind will linger into the weekend and we could even see showers carry into the start of the work week.

Based on the current forecast track, here is what to expect…


Most of the area will see 4-6" of rain over several days (Thursday-Sunday)

Locally higher totals are possible


Winds will ramp up on Thursday, stay strong through Friday, then slowly relax through the weekend.

Peak winds (sustained at tropical storm force, gusts to near hurricane force)

Hatteras: 45-55 G65+

Elizabeth City: 30-40 G50+

Virginia Beach: 30-40 G50+

Franklin: 25-35 G45+

Williamsburg: 25-35 G45+

Melfa: 25-35 G45+

Storm Surge

Southeast Virginia: 1-3'

Salvo, NC to  North Carolina/Virginia Border: 2-4'

Ocracoke Inlet NC to Salvo NC: 4-6'


Storm track is favorable for isolated tornadoes in NE NC and SE VA


Swells from Florence will impact a large section of the East Coast and are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions

Weather & Health 

Pollen: Moderate-High (Ragweed)

UV Index: 8 (Very High)

Air Quality: Good (Code Green)

Mosquitoes: Extreme

Tropical Update

Florence is moving toward the northwest near 16 mph (26 km/h) and this general motion, accompanied by a gradual decrease in forward speed, is expected to through Saturday. On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas today, and approach the coast of North Carolina or South Carolina in the hurricane warning area on Thursday and Friday and move slowly near the coastline through Saturday.

The reconnaissance aircraft found that maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 125 mph (205 km/h) with higher gusts. Florence is now a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some fluctuations in strength will be possible through Thursday morning. Although slow weakening is expected to begin by late Thursday, Florence is still forecast to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane when it nears the U.S. coast late Thursday and Friday.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km). A NOAA buoy located about 100 miles northeast of Florence's eye recently reported a sustained wind of 53 mph (85 km/h) and a gust to 74 mph (119 km/h).

Hurricane Tracker

Tropical Storm Isaac

Isaac is moving faster toward the west near 21 mph (33 km/h), and this general motion with a decrease in forward is expected to continue through the weekend. On the forecast track, Isaac is forecast to move across the central Lesser Antilles and into the eastern Caribbean Sea on Thursday, and then move across the eastern and central Caribbean Sea through Saturday.

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